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GERMANY: Carpet and precision bombing

From Germany, Christopher Jones comments on the New York Times article on the carpet bombing of Germany : "Nobody in his right mind in West Germany could have condoned carpet bombing of the Nazi Reich's population. It is just too perverse -- pure masochism. (of course nobody would tell this a New York Times reporter). In private, every German family has tales of Allied fighters strafing children picking flowers (the pilots were flying so low that the pilots were recognizable) or the terror of being in a dark, dank cellar when the bombs came down. As a matter of fact, there is now a discreet study underway to try and measure the psychological effects of the "buried alive" syndrome that arises from being in a shelter.

But this question brings up an even darker and far more dangerous historical revision: did the Allies inadvertently provoke the Holocaust? Did the bombing so rattle the Nazi leadership that their answer was the extermination of Europe's Jewry? (Or simply stated: if you exterminate us, before we go, we'll exterminate the Jews), And another question: why didn't the Allies bomb the train tracks leading to Auschwitz? If you could flatten Hannover, why not take out those tracks? Why does the Wahnsee conference's minutes use code language (they used the word "evacuation" for "deportation" and never say that they wanted to exterminate Jews). [The conference planned the extermination of the Jews. RH].

After 1943, Hitler was a physical and mental wreck. Many confirm this. So, at the very least, the bombing provoked the Wunderwaffen program which included the V2 and the deadly "tit for tat" spiral continued. This is very murky territory indeed".

RH: If the Germans are saying this, they are like the Japanese who argue that they pushed into war by the US. This brings up the thorny question of preventive strikes and the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war. The Russians were proud of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, but the Japanese viewed it as an intrusion into their sphere of influence. On February 8, 1904, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur (now Lu shun). The present occupation of formerly Japanese isles by Russia shows that there was some basis for the Japanese fears. Using the same logic, the Japanese might argue that Pearl Harbor was a preventive strike.

However, I am sure George Sassoon would reject the German argument, and I doubt that the New York Times man was as naive as Christopher suggests. The working people of Coventry and East London suffered terribly, but Allied bombers deliberately strafed children picking plowers!! Do the Germans believe that? As for the Jews, I lived in Germany in 1933, and the Jews knew what was in store for them. The Nazi son of the family with which I stayed read at supper time essays he had written denouncing the Jews, and then he would put on his big boots and go out, presumably to beat them up. In those days I could pass as a German, and young Nazis boasted to me about how they had beaten up the Jews. That Hitler was a physical and mental wreck was no reason to halt military activities. Allied bombing pure masochsim? German bombing was dropping flowers? If the Germans think like this, we have reason to be concerned.

Ronald Hilton - 1/30/03